August 24, 2009

Before you say that word

Pastordude: please, before you say that word…

So you’re a pastor, and you’re preaching this passage, and you want to mention some Hebrew or Greek word that is in the passage. Fine. Great, in fact. Terrific.

One request.

Say it right, or don’t say it.

Now, many would advise that you just not say it, period, because it’s not going to help your largely (linguisitically) unschooled audience, and may just look like preening. Most of the time, I think that’s good advice.

But because I know we pastordudes can be a bit thick, let me break it down and be very specific.

You’re preaching a passage. There’s a Hebrew or Greek word in it that is cool, that you think is worth commenting on. Fine.

If you do not actually know Hebrew or Greek:

  1. You should learn Hebrew and Greek. (After all, you are an instructor in ancient Hebrew and Greek literature. Your Principal wrote the class textbook in those languages. Your students have the right to expect that you’re conversant with them, or working on it.) > 2. Until then, you probably should not say any Hebrew or Greek word. > 3. If you do, find someone who has studied, and ask him whether you’re about to say it right.

Phillips has still more to say about it here.

flatfile greek imported preaching scraps

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